How the Border Crossed Us: Filling the Gap between Plume v. Seward and the Dispossession of Mexican Landowners in California after 1848

24 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2010  

Kim D. Chanbonpin

The John Marshall Law School

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

In 1854, the California Supreme Court concluded that although neither party to an ejectment suit could claim to be the true owner, the plaintiff, who could trace his ownership to a prior possessor, had a stronger claim than the defendant, who was in actual possession of the land. Taught to many first-year law students, Plume v. Seward is meant to illustrate the basic rule that when no legal title exists, property rights of first possessors trump the rights of those currently occupying the land. When examined in a full historical context, however, the Plume decision is evidence of the uneven treatment of California landowners based solely on race.

Keywords: reparations, race-based discrimination, property, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Suggested Citation

Chanbonpin, Kim D., How the Border Crossed Us: Filling the Gap between Plume v. Seward and the Dispossession of Mexican Landowners in California after 1848 (2005). Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 52, No. 297, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1594226

Kim D. Chanbonpin (Contact Author)

The John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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